I am partial to the odd tipple and, as a resident of the licentious, enabling city that is New Orleans, I’m fortunate to be adequately supported in my booze-seeking ways by the high number of bars and restaurants within stumbling distance of my front porch.
But what to do for those of us prohibited from indulging in one of the world’s greatest mood modulators, for those of us, say, incarcerated in America’s prison-industrial complex?
In that case, American ingenuity and tenacity wins, always: become a small time craft brewer and make your own.
The core requirements for this illicit alcoholic beverage consist only of sugar and water. That custom “microbrew” touch can be achieved with anything that can be scrounged from such an environment.
NO, not coriander seeds, orange peel, or applewood-smoked bacon – this is craft brewing on a budget, people! Think ketchup, corn, rice and bread.
Formulas for bootleg booze vary but invariably require a plastic bag or bottle to create a sealed anaerobic environment for alcohol fermentation, some form of heat and, of course, time, which inmates have more than plenty of.
The consumption of pruno is, understandably, a popular pastime in prisons throughout the United States: alcohol dulls the passage of time, a much-needed antidote for those surrounded by concrete walls and steel bars for years at a time.
However, drinking bootleg booze is a risky endeavor, both in terms of its offense to culinary sensibilities and to one’s health.
However, turned stomachs are not the only hazard here; you may add a desire to avoid botulism to your list of reasons to shy away from your mate’s latest batch of prison hooch.
The soil-dwelling bacterium Clostridium botulinum can contaminate fruits and veggies, and, in warm, oxygen-deprived conditions, produces the neuroparalytic toxin botulinum.
Even more wholesome Do It Yourself endeavors, such as canning fruits and crafting jams, can create an excellent staging ground for growing one’s own C. botulinum.
“Hooch,” a type of distilled liquor made by Alaskan Indians. Also, hootchinoo. Origin: 1875–80, Americanism; originally the name of a Tlingit village on Admiralty Island, Alaska, reputed to be a source of illicit liquor.